When She Sleeps

    “When She Sleeps,” New Era, Aug. 1991, 22

    When She Sleeps

    She sits in her chair by the window.

    The shallow napping of the elderly.

    Her mouth hangs open,

    and a faint snore rises from her.

    Her grey hair is matted.

    A smudge of dust is streaked over her cheek

    from cleaning the cellar earlier that morning.

    I go to the bathroom and find a small brush by the washbasin.

    I try to step lightly

    so the floorboards don’t creak,

    I go back.

    A red and green afghan is draped over her feet.

    I pull it up to her shoulders,

    and step behind her.

    I kiss her on top of the grey mess,

    and lightly brush out the snarls.